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Theatre Faculty and Students Bring Awareness to the Stage in ‘ENOUGH! Plays to End Gun Violence’

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On Monday, Nov. 6, Cal State Fullerton will host one of hundreds of simultaneously staged readings of six bold new plays in “ENOUGH! Plays to End Gun Violence.” The six plays represent the winners of its national short play competition created by the ENOUGH! initiative, which calls on teens to confront gun violence by creating new works of theatre that will spark critical conversations and inspire meaningful community engagement. The six works will be presented by theaters, schools, universities and community centers across the country, including The Kennedy Center’s Theater Lab (Washington, D.C.). With their Nov. 6 debut — exactly one year from the 2024 elections — the playwrights hope to bring the immediacy of gun violence to the forefront of national conversation.

Cal State Fullerton Department of Theatre and Dance faculty Collette Rutherford along with Mark Ramont (directing) and Sarah Ripper (musical theatre) have assembled a cast and crew of students to perform “ENOUGH!” at the Arena Theatre on campus. First-year M.F.A. directing student Tyler Garcia, third-year lighting M.F.A. Alecia Bennett and B.A. theatre student Emily Mattson provide production support.

I recently asked Rutherford via email a few questions about how the “ENOUGH!” project came to her attention and what she sees as its impact here on campus and more broadly:

Heather Richards-Siddons: How did you learn about the project?

Collette Rutherford: I learned about “ENOUGH!” on Instagram. I had learned about it last year, but it was too late for us to participate.

HRS: Why did you want to bring “ENOUGH!” to Cal State Fullerton?

CR: I wanted to bring the event to CSUF for several reasons. Gun violence is a serious issue in the United States and anything I can do to bring attention to it, work to change minds and hopefully policy, I am all in support of that. As a theatre artist who believes that theatre is an effective tool for change, an organized national theatre event focused on gun violence seemed the perfect fit for both my skills and interests. As someone who loves to work on new plays, I also appreciate that these are all new scripts written by high school students specifically for this event garnering attention at a national level.

HRS: What do you hope “ENOUGH!” will achieve?

CR: At CSUF, I hope that “ENOUGH!” will be an event that brings artists and others from across the university together in a common goal. I would love for it to continue here as long as gun violence remains an issue in this country. Hopefully, given time and continued awareness brought to the masses, we as a nation will find the proper solutions to the issues that feed our gun violence epidemic and “ENOUGH!” will have played a part in creating agents for that change.

Be a part of the conversation:

‘ENOUGH! Nationwide Reading: Plays to End Gun Violence’ (Part of the Studio Series)
Monday, Nov. 6, 2023 at 8 pm
Free admission
Arena Theatre (Clayes Performing Arts Center)

Heather Richards-Siddons